For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NLT)
Last week I had the occasion to sit in a criminal court room. I watched the accused come forward one by one. Mostly, the cases were continued. Then a woman stepped up. Her lawyer asked for a continuance. The judge noted that she had not fulfilled the requirements that were set forth in the last hearing. Apparently, she did not pass a drug test that she should have passed.
He said he was reluctant to grant a continuance but instead wanted to revoke her bond. The lawyer argued. The judge asked if she would be willing to submit to a drug test (urinalysis) today. She said no.
The judge revoked her bond. She looked very distraught as the Sheriffs came in to place the hand-cuffs on her. My heart was racing as I watched this unfold. Then, the judge said something that made me pause. He said "Miss, I am doing this so you don't die."
It dawned on me in that moment that this is what God does with us. He allows us to face our consequences and even sometimes increases them so we will pay attention. He wants us to have eternal life.
And I imagine, as Jesus was hanging on the cross and God's heart broke that he said "We are doing this so they won't die."